Several journalists in their interviews with acadman.in have advised students not to go for undergraduate studies in journalism.Some even described it to be dangerous. In this post we have compiled the answers of a few journalists – Should You Study Journalism to Become a Journalist?
Prema Sridevi, Editor, Republic TV
We asked her -how important is it to have a degree in journalism to be a good journalist? She opined – I frankly don’t think that a degree in journalism is required to become a good journalist. But sometimes a degree in journalism can come handy but that is not a prerequisite. I believe that a good journalist should have plain common sense and a heart that can empathize with people and their problems.”
Prerna Lidhoo – Special Correspondent, Fortune Magazine
Prerna went to IP College Delhi for her degree in journalism. “There I went through an all-women environment, which was a very different experience for me. When it comes to studies, there is only one regret that I have. Whoever is trying to get into journalism or mass communication, I would suggest them to not do it at the graduation level. For Mass Communication as a graduation subject is really dangerous for our country right now,” she said.
She continued, “first of all, they don’t really teach you anything. The colleges are not nice in terms of graduation level in India. Like my college was one of the top colleges in India; still I would say that it is not recommended for students to join mass communication or journalism course right after 12th.”
“You need to have a base first. If I could go back in time, I would choose history or political science or English literature or psychology; so that I have a base in my understanding. It is recommended that you go for journalism only in your masters and not in your graduation,” she said.
Shalini Singh, Nieman fellowship Awardee
We asked her – Did you find that your college had prepared you sufficiently for the many tasks you were required to execute in your Job? She replied – “I cannot say so. The college system in India is an extended version of school and does not provide you guidelines for choosing a career path. Whatever qualities you pick up are by default, not training or planning. It is up to the individual. But my journalism course did provide me with a real-life insight into the trade.”
Sonal Matharu, Truth vs Hype, NDTV 24X7
When we asked her about her experiences at Delhi University, she said: College was hugely disappointing. I enrolled in Journalism Hons. at Delhi University and it didn’t take me long to grasp that my three years will go completely waste if I sit in a classroom and learn “History of Journalism” amongst other obsolete courses. The real experience came from my internships.”
Ajoy Ashirwad, Deputy Editor, The Wire
We asked him – Which things a student should consider while choosing a journalism school? He said: “I don’t recommend under graduation courses of journalism. Because it is always beneficial in a career if you have some deep grounding in another discipline. It can be humanities or other traditional disciplines and then get into journalism since core knowledge is necessary to become a good journalist,” Ajoy said.
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He continued, “journalism is something which you eventually learn while you are working. What a college does is just aiding you in polishing your journalistic skills”.
Nitin Thakur, Editorial Producer, Aaj Tak
When we asked Nitin the difference between studying journalism and working in the newsroom – he said, I forgot what I studied. Even if you have got the best education you would have to work differently in the real life, especially in news channels, where environment and challenges both would be of different type.
You would not be able to run softwares (in newsroom) on the basis of your education, because you will not get that software in educational institutes.
So you would be introduced to the editing and sound machines in the newsroom only and you woiuld get to know how much technically sound you are for them.
Moreover, these machines are different in different news channels. Every channel has there own theme and news treatment process. You would know none of these from the institutes.
But if you don’t have recommendations colleges would help you to get a job in this field.
Saurabh Dwivedi, Founding Editor of The Lallantop
We asked Saurabh – How important is it to have a degree in journalism to become a journalist? What difficulties would come if a student of Sociology would like to pursue a career in journalism?
He said – “I don’t think there is a need to study journalism. A student of sociology can become a better journalist. Studying journalism makes people deter. It teaches you soem formulas and restricts you to think under a given structure. I’m telling you the version of Lalalntop.
When people come from a different background, like MBBS, or Engineering, or Social Sciences, they bring a new perspective, new language, and a new angle, language is very important to keep Hindi journalism alive. You will not get a single new perspective by studying journalism.”
Note: In the Mass Com section of acadman.in you can read more than sixty interviews of journalists who are currently working as a journalist. The list includes several well knwon names like Pranjoy Guha Thakurta, Bobby Ghosh, Rajdeep Sardesai, K.G. Suresh, The Quint Founder – Ritu Kapur, NDTV Anchor Sunetra Choudhary, Suhasini Haidar, Rajesh Joshi (BBC), Madhu Trehan (Newslaundary), etc.